The Kremlin Centuries-Old Bosphorus Appetite: Is Syrian Syndrome Geopolitical Trap For Turkey?

Fuad Muxtarlı Analysis 3 September 2019
The Kremlin Centuries-Old Bosphorus Appetite: Is Syrian Syndrome Geopolitical Trap For Turkey?

The disastrous Syrian war – an integral part of the plot to redraw the map of the entire Middle East and plunge the region into chaos and total destruction with numerous impotent statelets - is nearing completion.

The Western strategy for the total control over the Muslim region failed to be accomplished for many reasons – some of them being clashes of interests of European states and the opposition to this strategy by major regional powers, like Russia, Iran, Turkey and so on.

The Assad regime has survived and almost managed to regain the control of the country with the military assistance of Russia, Iran and Lebanese Hezbollah militia and it is time for the Syrian government to pay back Russia for the support that will keep in power for years to come.

Although the country’s rebuilding will take dozens of years, the Kremlin managed to make a comeback to the global politics despite overt and covert pressure, economic and political sanctions. Moscow has far-reaching regional plans and ambitions and the Middle East is serving its strategic goals as a jumping-board.

The devastating Syrian war is soon to end. At least, the difficult period that was a year ago has been overcome, and Russia, which helped Assad to maintain his power in the country and regain almost 70% of the entire territory, is now calculating losses.

Russia has not made public military expenses in Syria, however, approximate estimates of independent experts help to get an idea of the scale of Moscow's military spending. At the end of 2018, the expert and analytical department of Russia’s opposition Yabloko party put the cost of the military operation in Syria from 172 to 245 billion rubles, or 3-4.3bn dollars.

Now Russia, which itself is struggling with a deepening economic crisis, is trying to offset its costs, and the Kremlin envoys, along with Assad’s officials, are working on what can be confiscated for debt. Under recent reports, a company of one of the richest people in Russia, a friend of Putin, got a chemical plant in Syria and is guarded by the Russian military. The fertilizer plant in Syrian Homs has been transferred to the management of Stroytransgaz Logistics owned by businessman Gennady Timchenko, RBC reports with reference to The Financial Times.

According to the newspaper, the subsidiary of Stroytransgaz began production of phosphates last spring and cooperates with the state General Fertilizer Company (GFC) in Homs. “The company, controlled by Russian oligarch Gennady Timchenko, an associate of Russian President Vladimir Putin, seems to be strengthening his dominant position in this market,” the newspaper writes.

The industrial facility is protected by Russian mercenaries from the PMC Wagner, deployed in the vicinity of Homs. The Syrian authorities not only issued the company permission for the extraction of phosphates, but also helped to obtain a contract for the operation of the Tartus port for export. Now all the large enterprises in Syria, one after another, will come under the control of Russian corporations, managed by people from Putin’s inner circle.

Armenia scenario underway

Russia tested this scenario in Armenia, providing it with unprecedented assistance during the war in Karabakh, and after the ceasefire, Moscow presented a list of debts to the Armenian leadership, who was never able to become truly independent and free due to the stupidity of its leaders and the imperial ambitions of the Kremlin.

For debts, Russia confiscated almost everything in Armenia. Russian companies received a controlling stake in all strategic enterprises, all mining and processing plants, the electricity grid, the gas distribution system, the railway, the main air-carrier, etc.

Today, Armenia is practically in the state of one of the poorest regions of Russia, it even has a much lower status than, for example, the Kaluga region.

Assad in the Kremlin trap

As for Syria, Assad, without realizing it, fell into the networks of Russia and Iran, which at the cost of lives of own military and spending enormous amount of money, defended and did not allow the West to destroy it, to dishonor, humiliate and kill Assad, like Gaddafi. Now Assad owes everything to Russia and Iran, even his own life.

The war is almost won and from now on, Russia and Iran will share the entire economy, all the profitable sectors of Syria, and Assad will become the governor of the Syrian autonomous region of Russia, deprived of all presidential powers. Defending himself from the West, Assad fell into a real trap, from which there was practically no way out or release, which turned himself and his people into a slave of the Russian empire.

And in this region Russia will pursue exactly the policy that it conducted in the Caucasus, Central Asia, Siberia, the Far East, etc. According to the old scenario, the Russians will divide Syria into ethnic and confessional provinces, and the foundation of a powerful enmity and hatred will be laid between the peoples of this country.

Armenian autonomy in Syria?

First, in order to provoke conflicts on ethnic and religious grounds in the future and use them against Turkey and against Arabs themselves, Moscow will create an Armenian autonomy in Syria and grant it a special status, just as it did in the Caucasus after the seizure of the Iravan Khanate in 1827.

Thus, another gray zone will appear in the south of Turkey - the Russian outpost, like modern Armenia, created by the Russians over the last 200 years on our lands between Azerbaijan and Turkey, which sticks out like a wedge. While Erdogan is busy strengthening his friendship with Putin and purchasing Russian weapons, Syria is turning into a militarized center, which Russia will use in the future to destabilize the situation in the entire Middle East.

While Erdogan is busy with the Kurds in the north of Syria, another “Armenia” will appear next to it with Russian military bases and Ankara will simply not be able to use weapons bought from Russia against anyone, and as a result, the Turkish state will be in a tight Moscow trap. This is essentially the end of the Turkish era, not only in the Middle East, but throughout Eurasia. Those who have illusions about the joint leadership of Russia and Turkey in Eurasia simply do not understand Russian politics or are not familiar with the true history of the Russian empire.

If we pay attention to the modern map of the region, we will see the contours of the familiar Russian politics to us all. Turkish strategists must understand one very important detail that they have nothing to do with Russian weapons, which Turkey will still not be able to use against its enemies in the region. And all the enemies of Turkey in the region are allies of Russia.

As in the case of Azerbaijan, which annually purchases Russian weapons worth billions of dollars, but cannot use them in any way against its enemies - the Armenians, who, in turn are also under the control of Russia. Azerbaijan can buy Russian weapons, but you can’t use it against the Armenian occupiers - Russia's strategic ally! This is the situation Russia has created in the region.

What expects Turkey?

Now Turkey cannot respond to Assad’s shelling because the Russians are behind it. Assad is an enemy of Turkey, but a strategic ally of Russia, and Turkey, like Azerbaijan, is a strategic partner of Russia. Is it really so difficult to understand who in such cases is the winner?

This is the true essence of the Kremlin hypocritical policy. As Churchill said, "any agreement with Russia costs exactly as much as the paper on which it is written".

Such a long, costly, destructive war, which went on and continues to go on in Syria, can in no way be connected with the overthrow of one leader, even a dictator. If Assad himself or his entourage were the main goal, then they could have easily bombed all his palaces and bunkers, destroying him easily.

Behind the destabilization of Syria are very scary plans to change the map of the region and to destroy some big states. The involvement of Russia in this conflict, then the rapprochement between Ankara with Moscow, now an incomprehensible game and dirty policy of the Kremlin in Syria, all this suggests that the clouds over Turkey are gathering.

Having strengthened its position in Syria, Russia is playing a very dangerous game against Turkey. Over the past two years, Ankara’s full attention has been focused on Kurdish terrorists from PYD-YPG, while other events are unfolding in the rest of the country. The US recognized the Golan Heights as Israeli’s territory, Russia did not help Assad in this.

And Idlib is in danger as Russia is playing a double game, as if waiting for Turkey to strike back at Assad’s positions, next to which are its military and mercenaries. On the one hand, the Americans are approaching with the Turks, and on the other hand, they make conflicting statements, as if they are participating in the Russian game against Turkey.

In a nutshell, Ankara is in stalemate and if Erdogan allows the U.S and Russia to completely push Turkey into an impasse, it will either have to surrender, or to break all the rules of the game and go all-in, and it will be very difficult to predict how this will end.